I gotta say, I love a good spin around a humid room full of deep bass and sweaty people on oddly designed stationary bikes with big metal fly wheels.
Of course I’m talking about Spinning. And despite the lack of trail, trees and actual forward movement, I totally dig it. I get geeked about it to the point that I almost turn into one of those overly smiley (or intense, see below) people spinning on a commercial for a gym or in horrible stock photography. I don’t think I look like them on the outside, and I’m certainly nothing like this guy who got his ass kicked for being annoying. (UPDATE: Here’s how the case turned out. I don’t condone violence, even toward the irritating, but I do have to laugh that jurors went to the, “Well, if he didn’t want to get his ass kicked he shouldn’t have been annoying as fuck” presedent.)
I don’t draw attention (or an ass whooping) to myself by randomly testifying like I’m in the First Souther Baptist Fitness Church of Johnny G. Nor do I have a ridiculous plastic grin rubber cemented on my face (I smile a lot, but if you’re smiling that big you need to pick it up a bit, pussy), but inside I kind of feel that way. I become Spinning-Guy-Andy.
If you interviewed Spinning-Guy-Andy, he wouldn’t be like real Andy. He’d be like one of those professional dancers explaining in a very serious tone how moving to the music makes him feel free and uninhibited. You can tell he’s had a shitty life, getting picked on by a dad who was around just enough to bounce a few Milwaukee’s Best empties off his son’s head and say how he always wanted a boy. But now he finds solace in dancing.
“Ya know, when I’m dancing, I just feel so free and like, all my problems just melt away, ya know, and I can really be myself out there.” Etc. You know way-into-dancing-guy.
Well I become his second cousin, way-into-spinning-guy: Spinning-Guy-Andy.
“Ya know, when I’m on that bike, spinning my heart out, I just feel, even though I’m not moving, like all my problems get left behind me.”
I even lose my musical taste. The hot dance club remix music starts pounding through the speakers, and suddenly I have the musical taste of a drunk sorority girl whose hit of X has just kicked in. “OH MY GAWD! I love this song. I want to dance. Who wants to dance? Do you want to dance?”
‘Cause we gon’ rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite!
And you know what? I love every sthweaty minute of it.
It is kind of freeing to tell that internal cynical dickhead (the one who rolls his eyes at way-into-dancing guy) to fuck off, and have him actually fuck off. I’m usually pretty secure and loose these days, which has come with age, but spinning helps me relax the ole brown pucker even more. It’s like when you have kids and you just dork the hell out. A switch gets thrown from DUDE to DADDY and suddenly you baby talk. You hide your face with your hands, uncover it and go “ahboo ahboo ahbooo!” You verbally and physically smother them with love and affection with full abandon while the world looks on and you don’t care. You stop giving a shit about being cool when you’re with your little one. And it feels great. Maybe I should start yelling, “Yeah! Awesome song!” during class.
And not only does spinning help you loosen your soul, it helps you tighten your pedal pushers. There’re pretty obvious physical benefits of rotating a 50 pound flywheel like a medieval slave for an hour straight. It’s absolutely exhausting and I personally sweat more than an NBA big man. It’s the perfect torture to keep my muscley, near hairless body looking the way my wife likes it (well, my mirror and I care more than she does, but she likes it too). And just as important, it really helps me the next time I get on a bike that actually moves and go head-to-head with gravity. “You take the day off little chain ring. Me and middle chain ring have got this one. If something crazy comes up, we’ll let you know.” Poor little chain ring. He gets ignored more and more these days.
And what was really cool about the last class I did was that the instructor brought in a projector hooked up to a laptop. It took us out of the usual stare straight ahead like the living dead thing and made it a multi-media affair. This dude is already one of the best and toughest instructors I’ve come across, but he took shit up a notch with this silliness. I’m in a creative business that recognizes when people do stuff different, so I was excited.
And my excitement was well founded.
It’s pretty simple to describe what was going on in the projection on the wall: broadcasts of road races with inspiring, fun instructions that the instructor had put over the footage. “You’re going to have to pedal harder than that. That’s Contador behind you!” Stuff like that.
As I’ve written in the past, I’m not at all into road riding (nor have I ever taken much interest in the stars of the sport. And actually, I’ve never taken any interest in the stars of mountain biking and couldn’t name a single one), but I got pumped up being out on the pavement with them. Imaginary road racing with a very real physical component is really fun.
Those imaginary scenarios of chasing down road riders through the French countryside made me want to buy a road bike and start slamming some PEDs, figure out how to get uncircumcised, get a seatpost that’s five feet tall and start measuring distances in meetehrs and keelomeetehrs. Maybe wear billboards on my back and stuff my ass into shorts that are so tight you can make out the wrinkles in my sack. All that road rider stuff.
It was an extra fun class.
I’ll wrap this up with another thing that I really appreciate about spinning class: It reminds me how glad I am that I’m living a life that it’s the lamest thing I do in a bike saddle. As much as I enjoy spinning, I’m grateful that I’m surrounded by better, dirtier, more beautiful options and that I make the effort to take those options on a regular basis. It’ll always be a lot more enjoyable to be Mountain-Bike-Guy-Andy than Spinning-Guy-Andy.